The changing of the guard among senior asset owner executives is fast-paced so far this year, with a sharp focus on hiring more women and people of color.
Pensions & Investments' reporting through Sept. 30 covered senior-level hires (CEO, executive director or chief investment officer) or open positions for 23 institutional investors so far this year. Four of these asset owners have yet to hire a permanent replacement for CIOs and CEOs, including the $487.7 billion California Public Employees Retirement System, Sacramento.
Senior-level departures that P&I analyzed included nine retirements among asset owners. The rest of the newly hired senior executives were replacements for people who left for other reasons. Two new appointees replaced an executive who died.
Among the new CEOs and CIOs of large institutional investors are:
- Cassandra Lichnock was promoted to CEO of the $318.4 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, on July 1, replacing Jack Ehnes, who retired. Ms. Lichnock was the system's chief operating officer.
- Allyson Tucker will take over as CEO of the Washington State Investment Board, Olympia, on Jan. 1. She will replace Theresa Whitmarsh, who is retiring on Dec. 31. Ms. Tucker is CIO of the board, which managed a total of $181 billion, of which $142.5 billion was in defined benefit plan assets, as of June 30.
- Edwin Denson was promoted in April to executive director and CIO of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, replacing David Villa, who died Feb. 13. Mr. Denson was managing director, asset and risk allocation for the board, which as of July 31 managed a total of $157.9 billion, including the $140.2 billion Wisconsin Retirement System.
In all, eight of the public pension funds P&I tracked promoted from within to fill CEO/executive director and CIO vacancies, a fairly common practice by boards of trustees, said Randall W. Miller, chief operating officer of pension fund governance specialist Funston Advisory Services LLC, Bloomfield, Mich.